March 14, 2011
By Anonymous

In the world today, everyone has experienced shame. It can be thrust upon them, or they can bring the feeling of shame to themselves. The feeling of shame can be fleeting in a moment, in a quick meeting, or it can last with you for years. My meeting with shame was brought on suddenly; it was brought with a handing of a Kleenex and a soothing “It’s alright.”

Shame was introduced to me in the winter of last year. I can fast forward through a first meeting with a therapist, the one that said it was imperative that I go to a hospital. I can fast forward through a car ride with my dad, one filled with the heavy weight of a full silence. I can even fast forward through the emergency room, meeting my silently crying mother, my aunt trying to hold back tears, and the doctor telling my stoic father that I need to be admitted. I stayed far from shame through all of that, anger consuming most of my thoughts, but the trip to the hospital was another story.

An ambulance was called, it was mandatory if you were being admitted to the hospital from another one. I started to have an anxious feeling, my thoughts racing with “More people are going to know?” My parents left, my anger at them made their leaving all that much easier. I was waiting in a hallway with the emergency room doctor, my parents long gone in a wake of silent tears. I was playing with the already shredded cuffs of my gray sweatshirt when I looked up and saw an older woman and a man walking toward me, both wearing paramedic uniforms. They introduced themselves, their names falling on deaf ears and their handshakes going to numb hands. I was then made to lie on a stretcher, a blanket covering me, and straps pulling tight. This may have been when I first got a taste of shame. There was humiliation in being wheeled out strapped to a stretcher, even though no one was watching. Once the stretcher was completely secure in the back of the waiting ambulance, the man climbed in front while the woman sat with me in back.

The ambulance started to move. I was strapped in tight as the woman worked around me to take my heart rate and some other measurements that my flickering eyes and my swirling brain could not comprehend. After the measurements, she sat by my head and started to ask some small talk questions about school and what I like to do. It was when she got to the questions of college, the questions that I was going to answer like I would normally-with a lie- that my voice seemed to have become lost. My mouth opened and no sound came out. I squeezed my eyes shut, willing back the flood of tears that I had kept back for so many years. With my closed eyes and my intense concentration, I did not feel the woman move beside me. I only noticed as she laid a warm hand over my cold, bound one and moved the other hand to dab at non-existent tears on my cheeks. She kept a steady, low, quiet murmur of “It’s alright.” in my ear. The touch and the quiet words opened the dam behind my eyes, letting the tears flow freely for the first time in years. The shame of someone, even someone I don’t know, someone who probably sees people cry quite often, seeing me at my weakest brought on my shame. I was not someone who showed intense emotions, emotions that brought tears, emotions that stole my voice. To me those emotions were weak.

As I look back, I think the shame that someone knew what I was thinking was hidden behind my original thoughts of shame. I had tried what I could to keep people from seeing what was hidden in my head. The fact that someone knew, that someone knew what I was contemplating, that someone knew why I was going to lie about college, was something I was not prepared for.

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This article has 18 comments.

Baer said...
on Mar. 28 2011 at 4:20 pm
Wow.....what a powerful testimony of how far you have come!  God has given you a gift to use words to open up those very emotions in others who may be waiting in shame but now are filled with hope :)  Thank you for being such a brave young woman!

mosty10 said...
on Mar. 24 2011 at 4:27 pm

Ms. Kami!

I feel like I've watched you grow over the last 5 years from an adorable little girl to a beautiful, strong woman!  Your strength is admirable and one no one can take away from you. 

gramma said...
on Mar. 24 2011 at 10:16 am
Kami, you are so precious, so beautiful. so strong.  Growing up is so hard these days.  I wish I could take away some of the hard parts.  Know that we love you so much and will always be here for you and praying for you.

forest lake said...
on Mar. 23 2011 at 8:06 am
Thanks so much for sharing your story.  Up until now, I didn't realize what that moment brought.  Your a special person, and you deserve the best.  I'm there for you - always remember that!

Bookworm said...
on Mar. 21 2011 at 2:28 pm
Thank you for sharing such a personal, heart wrenching experience with us.  You show a great amount of strength and courage by telling us "your story".   You deserve the best!

jhengel said...
on Mar. 21 2011 at 9:17 am
Thank you for expressing such real, heartfelt emotion. We are very proud of you!

Erica said...
on Mar. 21 2011 at 8:39 am
You are so brave to put your thoughts down on paper so that others can feel them along with you.  I know your mom and dad are so proud of you, and so am I!  I still remember you as a tiny baby!  We all love you and are here for you.  Thank you for sharing this story with us.

T-Bone said...
on Mar. 19 2011 at 3:11 pm
Kami, thanks for sharing this story!  You are a terrific writer and a wonderful young lady!!  I'm very proud of you!

sschoene said...
on Mar. 19 2011 at 12:28 pm

chica said...
on Mar. 18 2011 at 10:32 pm
Incredible... This is such a moving and powerful work of writing. You inspire me daily and I hope you know that I'll always be here for you!

Rachel H said...
on Mar. 18 2011 at 2:35 pm
How do I give this 5 stars?  Such courage to share...

wendy said...
on Mar. 18 2011 at 12:59 pm
Awesome job, hunny! Thank you for sharing this with me... You're surrounded by lots of love and support! XXOO

stephanie said...
on Mar. 18 2011 at 9:14 am
You have a way with words.  They evoke emotion and paint a vivid picture.  Turning a painful event into a beautiful and moving tale.  Your insight and honesty are well done here.  Well done.  I feel privledged.

Jude said...
on Mar. 18 2011 at 8:27 am
If you were standing next to me right now, I would ask for a BIG hug. Tears!  Love you Kami!

Mommy said...
on Mar. 17 2011 at 8:37 pm
Love you dear!  You mean the world to me!  I will never forget this day... the tears, kleenex, but most of all the strides we've made in making you better. 

Rosalia said...
on Mar. 17 2011 at 7:58 pm
This made me cry! I's so beautiful and wonderful yet sad and emotional and I just love it! Love you and I'm always here if you need me!

jedh said...
on Mar. 17 2011 at 7:40 pm
beautiful and heartfelt.

cdevalk said...
on Mar. 17 2011 at 3:29 pm
Kami!!  I'm so proud of you!  And, yes, I got teary-eyed again when I read your essay.  It is beautiful writing.  You go, girl!


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